April will no longer be the cruellest month for Chennai Super Kings loyalists, as their beloved team has served its two-year suspension
period and is back in the Indian Premier League (IPL) fold. In these two years, the CSK-ians felt a void for the two months the rest of the country celebrated the grand event.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the event missed the franchise as much as the franchise missed the event. For, the Chennai Super Kings have been the most consistent side of the league — clinching the silverware twice, emerging as the runners-up four times and never failing to qualify for the knockouts in the eight editions they featured in. Not to discount the two Champions League titles. To complement their performance on the field, they had feverish fan support, the stands on match days packed to the rafters, swaying in a whirl of yellow flags and jerseys. No side, except, perhaps, the Mumbai Indians, could establish an emotional connect with the audience as rapidly as them. In their sabbatical of two years, they literally mourned the event and even had public campaigns to restore the franchise at the earliest. There was the occasional international match and the Tamil Nadu Premier League, but nothing to fill the vacuum left by the IPL.
The fans’ prayers were finally granted. As the IPL returns, so does their most loved MS Dhoni, who commands almost a Rajini-like cult status. The former Indian skipper’s prowess might have waned, whispers that it’s high time he hung his boots are becoming louder, but the CSK fans won’t hear of it, as was evidenced in the recent ODI against Australia where a multitude turned out in the yellow jersey, bearing No 7 on the back. They would hope he will rekindle his mojo. Even if he doesn’t, they’ll be content just seeing him lead CSK back onto the playing field.